Friday, August 19, 2005

Mbeki finally grows a pair about Mugabe.

Africa: Maybe he realized that a Zimbabwe crash is not exactly an event South Africa could handle.

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has privately conceded that his "quiet diplomatic" approach towards Zimbabwe has failed to yield results, opening the way for a more forceful policy towards the regime of Robert Mugabe. The signs from South Africa now suggest that the African leaders - who for decades have refused to criticise abuses among their number - are for the first time seriously considering breaking the taboo and taking Mr Mugabe to task for the destruction of his own country. The South African leader has sacrificed much of his international reputation by declining to criticise President Mugabe's excesses. Instead, South Africa has tried to influence Zimbabwe's regime with behind-the-scenes talks. Yet the country's descent into economic collapse and political repression has continued unabated, leading Mr Mbeki to think again. "Our President has eventually agreed that the quiet diplomatic approach has not yielded the results that were expected," said Devikarani Jana, a diplomat who received a briefing on Zimbabwe from South African officials on Wednesday.

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